Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu says the re-registration of SIM cards initiative by the government would not resolve the challenges of fraud within the electronic transaction business in the country.

The Minority Caucus, in a press statement, described as ‘ill-informed, inept and highly naïve’ the comments made by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia with regards to the initiative aimed at resolving cyberspace challenges.

“The solution to the challenges of fraud within the electronic money ecosystem goes beyond SIM registration. Ordinarily and in the past, the fiery display of ignorance by the Vice President about digital evolution and emanating operational controls has received no attention.

“However, we are forced to react to this display of ineptitude by the Vice President because of the likely adverse consequences from oversimplifying a growing challenge with transformational technology,” portions of the statement read.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, speaking at the 5th edition of the CEO Summit noted that steps have been put in place to ensure that Ghanaians with SIM cards re-register them using the National Identification card by middle of this year to rid the country’s cyberspace of fraud.

He further noted that any individual who fails to take part in the exercise risks losing his or her SIM card.

“We all have to do that otherwise we’ll lose that SIM card. That will really give us a real identity for all MoMo transactions. For example, it takes away fraud that is taking place like SIM box and through MoMo”, he said on Monday.

But according to the Minority Leader, the mandatory re-registration of SIM cards deprive a large segment of Mobile money users of accessing the service and would also fail to address the recent attacks on mobile money vendors by robbers.

In addition, Mr Iddrisu noted that the use of Ghana Card as the only requirement for the process would deny a massive section of the population from partaking in the exercise.

“The number of issued cards is only a pale shadow of the eligible population. The reality is that there have been only 17 million registrations done of the Ghana Card. This represents about 55% of our population. An even smaller proportion has actually received their cards.

“It needs no saying, therefore, the practical difficulties associated with a card that is facing systematic and operational difficulties in its rollout,” he added.

Moreover, he stated that “the acquisition of the Ghana Card is self-provided without any meaningful independent verification process,” therefore, the need for government to rescind its decision.

He, however, indicated that should government decide to press forward on its decision, it must be transparent and disclose full information including the cost of the project to the public.

Meanwhile, the Minority has advised the government to instruct the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the National Communications Authority (NCA) to set key performance indicators for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to eradicate the canker.

“The Vice President should urge subtly or overtly the MNOs to invest – proportionate to market share – in advanced cybersecurity tools for fraud detection and mitigation, enhanced public sensitization campaigns and monitoring systems, including personnel…

“The timelines for roll-out need to be made more pragmatic to allow for the convenience of customers as well as achieve minimal capital outlay and optimal utilization of investments made,” they added.